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Center Grove hurdler made ‘big’ state-ment

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2014 Johnson County male Athlete of the Year Justin Veteto of Center Grove. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
2014 Johnson County male Athlete of the Year Justin Veteto of Center Grove. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

Put an obstacle in front of Justin Veteto, and he had no problem getting over it.

None whatsoever.

One of the state’s top high school hurdlers the past two seasons, the Center Grove High senior combined speed, grace, skill and determination to make a historic impression at the recent IHSAA State Track and Field Championships.

On Saturday, Veteto — a runner-up last year in both the 110-meter highs and the 300 intermediates — replicated his second-place finish in the 110 but raced to the state championship in the 300.

He did so in a school-record time of 36.85 seconds, the fourth-fastest time in IHSAA history.

Moreover, he ran the anchor leg of Center Grove’s fourth-place 1,600 relay team, helping the Trojans earn a third-place team finish.

But those accomplishments are only part of the Veteto story.

A two-year starter on the Trojans’ Class 6A football team, he played a prominent role in the team’s march to sectional and regional championships.

From his split end position, the 6-foot-4, 165-pound speedster caught

19 passes for 358 yards and six touchdowns his senior year for the Trojans, who finished 11-2 after a heartbreaking 12-7 semistate loss against eventual state champion Warren Central.

In recognition of his accomplishments, Veteto has been selected the 2013-14 Johnson County Male Athlete

of the Year, as selected by the Daily Journal sports staff.

“Coming into high school, there is way more competition. It was intimidating,” Veteto said. “It wasn’t until my junior year that I thought I could do more.

“The most important thing (football) coach (Eric) Moore taught me was hard work and dedication.”

Veteto was honored Tuesday, along with 23 other senior athletes from the county’s six public high schools, at the 16th annual Johnson County Athlete of the Year Banquet at Franklin College.

Sponsored by the Daily Journal and the Johnson County athletics directors, the event honors male and female athletes for outstanding achievement in athletics and sportsmanship.

The eighth Center Grove male to win the award in its 16-year history, Veteto finished his distinguished high school career with five varsity letters, three in track and two in football. He earned All-Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference honors three times in track and twice earned All-State recognition in track.

He was an honorable mention member of the Daily Journal’s 2013 All-County Football Team.

But track, not surprisingly, is his No. 1 sport. He’ll continue his career on a track scholarship at Purdue University, where he plans to major in management.

His parents are Gary and Denise Veteto.

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